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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.


~May 2012~

Professional Mentoring



Imagine my surprise when I was recently contacted by someone who wanted to talk/interview me about my career path and how I got to where I am.  I continue to be amazed that anyone might think that what I have to say (and write for that matter) is worthwhile.  But, I agreed to meet with her over breakfast and I am very glad I did.  While I initially thought she might learn something from me, it turns out it was I who learned something from her.  Here’s a young woman, college graduate currently in the for-profit workforce for several years coming to the realization that what she does every day doesn’t make a difference.  After reaching this realization, she is now setting out to change career paths.  After meeting with a career counselor and doing some one-on-one meetings with different people, she was referred to me.

 I have often said that there are two kinds of people in this world.  The ones who know what they want to do from the time they are little and then set out to achieve those goals as they go through school.  The other ones are the those who let life happen to them.  I happen to be one of those whose life happened to them.  And those who know with certainty from an early age what they want to achieve in this world will always have my admiration.  I had no idea when I graduated college that I would land in this profession, let alone be in this profession for over twenty years (and still enjoying it). 

The takeaway from this little breakfast meeting is twofold. 

First, as I met with this young lady, it becomes vibrantly clear to me that our world in the future will be okay.  Today’s young people have a true desire to do what’s good for our world and really make a difference.  And while it’s common for each generation to believe as they age that the world will go to heck in a hand basket in the hands of today’s youth, after meeting with this young woman, I know differently.

The second takeaway is that you owe it to today’s younger folks to spend time with them and provide whatever insight you can (even if you don’t believe you have anything worthwhile to share).  There is so much in our everyday workplace that is taken for granted.  Being forced to think about it and then verbalizing it provides an opportunity to reflect on where I started, where I am now and how I got from there to here.  Reflection (or wisdom) comes in many forms.  Each of us has an obligation to bring along those who will come after us in this world.

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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